uni stairs

Contribution by University Lecturer and owner of Families Magazine Janine Mergler.

It’s the biggest decision of your teenager’s life – which university should s/he choose to kick-start their career?  Choosing a Queensland university doesn’t just come down to “proximity to home and how good the campus bar is – getting the most from a university education comes down to listing and prioritising your teen’s academic needs.  Building a list of Queensland Universities and then analysing according to how they serve your child’s needs is the first step in selecting their ideal campus.

What should go on your university wish list

The answer will be different for every parent.  It will be difficult to come up with your own priorities let along a list of Queensland Universities that cater to your needs.

Alternatively, you can provide Better Small  Business Solutions with your child’s needs and we’ll research and present the list for you.  Speak to us for more information.

Entrance criteria

If your child has fought hard to scrape the OP score needed for entry to his or her wish list university but is worried they may not have achieved it, then this will likely be your biggest concern.  Create a list of all universities offering their first and second choice of courses with the entrance criteria listed.  If your child has chosen a course that is well below his/her OP score projections, be sure they’ve also fulfilled any secondary requirements including FPs and pre-requisites. This can vary from university to university.

Faculty and Facilities

If you’re a Brisbane parent, you may make the mistake of defaulting to Queensland University of Technology or University of Queensland.  For too long QUT was the “science university” and UQ the humanities university…  These universities have changed over the years (QUT has complete restructured its arts program in the past few years) and former underdogs like Griffith and USQ have come ahead in leaps and bounds, investing in technology and expert staff.  Further afield however, lays excellent specialist universities with world class, highly respected courses.  James Cook in Townsville is one of the global leaders in Marine Biology and the ecological sciences.  The University of Melbourne is in the Global top 15 universities for their medicine program.  Research beyond the locals to help your child find the very best opportunities available to him/her.

Cost of course

Whether paying upfront or by HECS the cost of a course is a big consideration for most families, and can make a huge difference to your child’s financial future.

Course outcomes

You may need to decide what is important here – is it that there are better than average graduate placements, that their alumni includes some exceptional Australians or that their graduates are offered post-graduate studies.  It’s hard to ask a 17 year old to plan their entire future, so it might be worth comparing these numbers side by side to get a clearer picture.

 Important factors specific to your child’s needs

Too little emphasis is placed on the extras a university provides to your child.  For four or more years, your child will be heavily influenced by the activities and opportunities on the campus.  Helping your child choose the right campus comes down the extras the university provides.

 Work experience

If your child is dreaming of a career in journalism or one of the creative industries, their hands-on experience will be vital to set them apart in these competitive careers.  Does the university offer internships or internal opportunities to gain hands-on experience (QUT News for example)?  Be sure that the university is offering extracurricular activities that will grow your child’s passions and lead to better employment opportunities.

Positive culture

Four years is a long time for your child to be immersed in the drinking and party culture!  If your child prefers sports or politics or any of the other “campus” activities, seek a campus that will keep them on-course and hangover-free!

Tutoring and support

Academically and personally, university is a massive adjustment.  Be sure to look at universities with adequate support across not just academic but all areas of campus life.  Health, safety, mental health, women’s health and wellbeing, mentoring, counselling and other campus facilities may be a high priority depending on your child’s ability to adjust to the challenges of their new life.

Generating a list that will help you make the right choice

Researching a list that gives you the right data, for use in comparing all viable options is a mammoth task.  Prioritise your child’s needs and then start your internet research.  Work with your child to narrow the list and then take some family time together to visit the campuses.  Better Small Business Solutions can simplify this whole process by searching for information specific to your family’s needs – including information on all the points above.  Talk to us about how our lists of Queensland University options can make your child’s future brighter!

Online Research Matters

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